Stories and Reality

I’ve been obsessed lately. Like, staying up until 2 am, thinking about nothing else, pushing aside more important things obsessed. It’s a bit scary, actually. It’s nothing I want to be obsessed with; I know there are better ways to deal with life, that something else is going on below the surface here.

I’ve been obsessed with stories lately. Stories told on any medium: books, web comics, movies, TV shows. Stories about everything from zombies to crime fighting to grad school. Stories that I like and stories that I’m not all that sure I do.

That’s the key, isn’t it? I’m not all that sure I like any of these stories. I’m not all that sure this is what I really want to be doing; there are so many things I could be doing instead, things that are much more worth doing and things that are much more urgent than rewatching that show I loved ten years ago. Something else is going on.

I love stories, of all kinds and shapes and sizes. That’s why I write, after all; I want to tell stories, too. As J. R. R. Tolkien once wrote, ““Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don’t we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!” That’s the beauty of stories; they show us the reality behind the veil, the reasons for hope.

But sometimes they really are just an escape. A false escape? There is beauty and reality here, in the present moment. Who doesn’t like to daydream about being brave, seeing new places, having exciting things happen? I certainly love it. Especially when I’m caught in the daily routine and faced with the realities of repetition and hard work, I certainly love it. I’d much rather imagine that I’m flying over London thanks to a spell than face the fact that I have a book to read for class. I’d much rather watch my favorite character save the world for the fifth time than write that paper. It’s easier. It’s more pleasant.

It’s easier to take part in others’ stories than craft my own.

I’m tired. I don’t want to face the reality of doing dishes. I don’t want to face the reality of all the hard work I’ll have to do to write my final paper. I don’t want to face the reality of how much life scares me. Everything’s so much simpler in a fictional story. I long for that simplicity.

I have no solution. There have been a lot of ups and downs. What can I say? Life is hard sometimes, especially when you try to avoid it.

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